Review of Janet Ruth Heller’s book The Passover Surprise by Melissa Sweeney in Baltimore’s Child


Dear Friends,

The review below of my chapter book for middle-grade children, The Passover Surprise, appeared in Baltimore’s Child on April 11, 2016.  Best wishes for the spring!  Janet

“The Passover Surprise”

Passover is just around the corner and author Janet Ruth Heller brings a timely story in The Passover Surprise.  Calling on Heller’s own childhood experiences, The Passover Surprise tells the tale of a girl named Lisa as she competes with her brother Jon in a stamp collecting competition.  Lisa’s father deems her brother the winner of the competition based partly on the ideas that stamp collecting is more of a boy’s hobby than a girl’s.  As Lisa prepares to talk to her father about her feelings, she is also preparing for Passover.   Set in the 1960s, the story touches on many different topics such as sibling rivalry and the stereotyping of girls all while weaving Jewish traditions and customs throughout.  The Passover Surprise is well written.  With short chapters and only 35 pages in length, The Passover Surprise is a good fit for upper elementary students with themes applicable to all kids, regardless of their background.  Discussion questions as well as a glossary of Jewish terms is also included.  The Passover Surprise can be found at and currently sells for $10.33.  From Fictive Press.

front cover for Passover Surprise

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